Ohio State begins the Urban Meyer era on Sept. 1 with some Maction. The Buckeyes open at home with the other Miami – the Ohio one, as in Miami University.
Offensively, Miami is basically a pass first, pass second and run only when necessary team. The RedHawks have a legit NFL prospect in senior quarterback Zac Dysert. Ben Roethlisberger he is not, but Chad Reuter of NFL.com lists Dysert as his fourth-best senior quarterback prospect in the nation.
As a junior, Dysert completed nearly 66 percent of his passes, finishing the year with 3,513 yards in the air and 23 touchdowns. That came despite being sacked 46 times. In Miami's narrow 29-23 loss to Minnesota last season, Dysert threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns. He topped 300 yards in seven games last season. It would have been eight, but he was pulled from the game against Akron after Miami led 28-0 at halftime.
Entering this season, Dysert is third among active FBS quarterbacks in passing yards with 8,530 behind just Oklahoma's Landry Jones and Southern California's Matt Barkley. Dysert's top target is all-MAC receiver Nick Harwell. He's coming off a 2011 season of 97 catches for 1,462 yards. As one would expect with a quarterback like Dysert and a poor run game, the RedHawks like to throw the ball. Here's an interesting statistic from Bill Connelly of SB Nation:
They threw 13 percent more than the national average on standard downs, eight percent more on passing downs and nine percent more in the red zone.
The top two rushers for Miami – Erik Finlea and Justin Semmes – are both back this year. But that's not exactly cause for excitement. Finlea, who led the team with 328 yards and four touchdowns, averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. He was on pace for a 700-yard season before being injured against Toledo. Semmes stepped in, but only had 41 carries for 170 yards. Sophomore walk-on running back Robert Williams could see a fair amount of carries. He reportedly looked good during recent practices. Local product Jack Snowball of Wadsworth could also get a look if he doesn't redshirt.
The RedHawks do return four of five starters on the offensive line, but the player they lost was guard Brandon Brooks, a third-round pick in this year's draft. Brooks was the highest Miami player drafted since Roethlisberger was taken in the first round in 2004. Overall, eight starters on the offense are back.
On defense, seven starters return, but the top three tacklers from a season ago are gone. Miami was surprisingly solid on defense last year, finishing 39th in scoring defense and 48th in total defense.
Despite the showing, Miami brought in new defensive coordinator Jay Peterson this offseason. A Miami alum, Peterson comes from Illinois State where hew as the assistant head coach and linebackers coach. He'll benefit from having a defensive line filled with experience and depth. Three new full-time starters are expected at linebacker, however, paced by Jaytee Swanson in the middle. Former safety Pat Hinkle is moving up to play the weak side. That's a boon for the linebackers, but a blow to the already mishmash secondary.
In 2011, Miami had a rough go of things, finishing 4-8 in head coach Don Treadwell's first season. Miami's wins came against Akron, Army, Ball State and Kent State. Hardly great wins, but Miami had losses against three BCS-conference teams and four MAC teams with postseason eligibility. Treadwell is a disciple of Jim Tressel and Mark Dantonio, so it's unlikely Miami will be mired in mediocrity during his tenure.
The RedHawks were picked to finish third in the Mid-American Conference East at MAC media days in July.
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